As winter arrives, Quintana and Cavendish speculation continues to swirl

Two stars of the sport remain without teams as the new season looms in the not too distant future.

by Jonny Long

photography by Getty Images


The maxim ‘no news is good news’ does not apply to professional cyclists without a contract.

The end of the year always means a mad scramble for the final spots in rosters but there are only so many places, meaning for some riders the unfortunate reality of the end of their career. But the fact two of cycling’s stars in Mark Cavendish and Nairo Quintana are still unattached as we head into November is an unexpected set of circumstances.

For Cavendish, there is still a vacuum of news in the aftermath of the cancelled press conference. B&B Hotels’ Jérôme Pineau is apparently still waiting for his big money sponsors to sign on the dotted line and you can imagine Cavendish is sitting somewhere about to throw his bike to the ground in frustration before shouting “sort it out!”

As the B&B Hotels situation looks more precarious by the day, the question grows of other potential destinations for the 34-time Tour de France stage winner. Higher-ups at Israel-Premier Tech have failed to take the bait when we’ve suggested that they could be in the market for not just a big-name rider, but a proven winner, as they fall to ProTeam level next season, while another surprise name has since emerged in Movistar.

Gazzetta dello Sport began November with a report that the team’s sports director Max Sciandri was interested in bringing Cavendish to the Spanish squad before Movistar “kindly reminded” everyone that the roster was full and the comments were just the pie in the sky wishes of the 55-year-old to team up with an old friend.

For Nairo Quintana, following his departure from Arkéa-Samsic under the gloom of his double Tramadol positive, things are looking far bleaker.

According to Ciclismo Colombiano, the 32-year-old was expecting to stop for a call with news of his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport during his recent Gran Fondo in Mexico. But his phone remained silent and every day that passes without an expected decision from CAS complicates the Colombian’s situation. Instead, in pictures uploaded to his Instagram, Quintana has taken his mountain bike out of the garage and trains on through mud and rain, providing a rather apt metaphor for his currently uncertain future.

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